The Nevada PUC decision to shutter its net metering policy was just one of the most recent occurrences in anti-solar actions happening across the western U.S. right now. The decision was heavily pushed by NV Energy, Nevada's largest utility. As Ben Jervey writes in an article for CleanTechnica, "NV Energy fought tooth and nail against the successful net metering plan, and ultimately secured its demise."

NV Energy is actually a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Rocky Mountain Power, a utility company in Utah, also recently proposed a solar net metering charge similar to the one in Nevada that passed. Fortunately it was voted down, but Rocky Mountain Power is also a division of PacifiCorp, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

At issue is a relatively little known federal statute that has been a huge boon to solar development around the country, and especially in the big Western states. It’s called PURPA, or the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, and it basically ensures that renewable generating facilities of a certain size (up to 80 megawatts; the projects that fit these conditions are called Qualifying Facilities, or QFs) can sell their power to utilities for a certain fair price. That price is called the “avoided cost rate” in utility-speak, and is basically what the utility would have had to pay for the same amount of power from another source or to generate it itself.

Jervey continues to detail solar battles playing out in multiple states (mostly those dominated by coal) and how Berkshire Hathaway Energy has been behind an enormous federal lobbying effort to reform PURPA.

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